What are you at?

The bio sheet that all the top eight competitors filled out at the SCG Invitational in New Jersey ten days ago had the question, “which archetypes did you play?” I responded with, “Incendiary Flow.” Nick Miller, the SCG coverage producer, wasn’t amused.

Going into the tournament, I didn’t make any time for testing outside of Eldritch Moon Game Day, an event which I didn’t even win.  Regardless, I was still excited for the event because burn has always been my favorite archetype by a significant margin, and thanks to some new cards in Eldritch Moon I could play burn in both formats. Even without proper preparation, I still felt confident in both lists.

Here’s what I played in Modern:

Naya Burn

Spells (26)
Lightning Bolt
Lava Spike
Rift Bolt
Boros Charm
Atarka’s Command
Searing Blaze
Lightning Helix

Creatures (14)
Goblin Guide
Monastery Swiftspear
Eidolon of the Great Revel
Grim Lavamancer
Lands (20)
Bloodstained Mire
Wooded Foothills
Scalding Tarn
Sacred Foundry
Stomping Ground

Sideboard (15)
Destructive Revelry
Deflecting Palm
Lightning Helix
Searing Blood
Path to Exile

Michael Flores won a PPTQ with this exact 75, and I figured that if it was good enough for him, I can manage. One of the main selling points of Modern burn is its redundancy. When every spell in your deck has the same role, you not only increase the volume of keepable hands but you also run into fewer scenarios in an event where you have a “one outer.”  Many of my matches were close, coming down to top deck wars.  My opponents who had less redundant decks would often find themselves needing to draw one specific card to win. They’d miss, and I’d draw one of the redundant three or four damage spells in the deck to close out the game.

Here’s what I played in Standard:

Blue Red Visions

Spells (24)
Fiery Impulse
Lightning Axe
Incendiary Flow
Tormenting Voice
Fiery Temper
Fevered Visions
Collective Defiance

Creatures (12)
Stormchaser Mage
Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
Bedlam Reveler
Lands (24)
Wandering Fumarole
Shivan Reef
Highland Lake
Geier Reach Sanitarium

Sideboard (15)
Oath of Chandra
Jace, Unraveler of Secrets
Chandra, Flamecaller
Day’s Undoing
Lightning Axe
Summary Dismissal

After playing a few games with the traditional Fevered Visions deck, I found a few of its specific card choices lacking in interaction with the overall game plan of the deck. I didn’t care for the counterspells in a deck full of sorceries and Thing in the Ice was awful.  I wanted more proactive two drops. Stormchaser Mage acts like Thermo-Alchemists five through eight, allowing you to accrue the incremental damage to finish off your opponent. While Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy does not contribute directly to the incremental damage component of the deck, it does provide velocity it needs early on. Last, Bedlam Reveler is surprisingly big as a 3/4, allowing it to attack and block well when needed while providing additional fuel to the deck’s primary game plan.

In regard to the sideboard, I sided in all but the third Lightning Axe throughout the tournament. While I did not like the counterspells in the main deck, after sideboard, there are some things in the format that we need to be able to deal with more effectively. We utilize Negate and Dispel to interact more favorably with the control decks of the format and buy ourselves time to set up and protect our incremental damage permanents. Sometimes we don’t want Emrakul to resolve, and Day’s Undoing and Summary Dismissal are excellent at that. The Oath of Chandra and planeswalker package were really the product of theory crafting how I expected the bant company matchup to go.

Blue Red is definitely the control deck vs the Collected Company deck, but with Duskwatch Recruiter, Tireless Tracker, and Collected Company, it’s very hard to keep card parity. With this in mind, I thought Fevered Visions and another source of card advantage would be important to stay in the game. The Oath of Chandras, Big Jace and Chandra, Flamecaller really solved all of those problems. Oath of Chandra kills every two drop and proactively protects Fevered Visions from Dromoka’s Command. Both walkers provide sources of card advantage that can’t be effected by Spell Queller.

Moving forward I have a RPTQ this [read, “last”] weekend that I intend on taking UR Thermal to. I will have to refine the list a bit, but I was happy with 73/75 cards and I’d recommend the deck to anyone who is tired of Bant Company mirrors.

It’s always hard to recommend Burn in Modern, though. It’s the “fairest” of the “unfair” decks, which sounds like a bad place to be. But the deck is consistent at forcing your opponent to have something to disrupt you or lose. In Modern, I think most decks are close enough in power that you just have to pick a deck style you are comfortable with, and hope to not have too much hate packed for you. Burn is my choice, and it worked pretty well at the Invitational. And also for fellow Red Wizard Brandon Burton at Grand Prix Indianapolis.

Miles Rodriguez was a local red mage in the City. One day he found a rat tail on the Seventh Avenue D platform. He took it to Bahamut, as you do, and suddenly he became a Wizard.

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